VX Nerve Gas 

Season 5; Episode 13 7:00-8:00 p.m.


"Attention all CTU personnel, this facility has been contaminated with Sentox VX-1 nerve gas!"

CERTIFICATE: 15

APPROX. RUNNING TIME: 42 mins

VIDEO CLIP: Click here

SOUND CLIP: Click here

PLOT: Russian separatists utilize a fictional variant of VX called "Sentox VX-1" from a weaponized canister on American soil.


Mason: What exactly does this stuff do?
Goodspeed: It's a cholinesterase inhibitor. Stops the brain from sending nerve messages down the spinal cord within thirty seconds. Any epidermal exposure or inhalation and you'll know. A twinge at the small of your back as the poison seizes your nervous system.
Goodspeed: Your muscles freeze, you can't breathe, and you spasm so hard you break your own back and spit your guts out. But this is after your skin melts off.

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PLOT: Marine Brigadier General Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris) threatens to kill San Francisco's population with VX gas missiles. British spy John Patrick Mason (Sean Connery) and FBI chemical weapons specialist Dr. Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage), are sent in to stop Hummel.

 

 

 

Chemical Name: O-ethyl S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl) methylphosphonothioate
Molecular Formula: C11H26NO2PS.
Chemical Structure:

Properties: With its high viscosity and low volatility VX has the texture and feel of high-grade motor oil. This makes it especially dangerous, as it has a high persistence in the environment. It is odourless and tasteless, and can be distributed as a liquid or, through evaporation, into small amounts of vapour.

Function: It works as a nerve agent by blocking the function of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Normally, an electric nerve pulse would cause the release of acetylcholine over a synapse that would stimulate muscle contraction. The acetylcholine is then broken down to non-reactive substances (acetic acid and choline). If more muscle tension is needed the nerve must release more acetylcholine. VX blocks the action of acetylcholinesterase, thus resulting in sustained contractions of all the muscles in the body. Sustained contraction of the diaphragm muscle causes death by asphyxiation.

Nerve gases attack the nervous system of the body by interrupting the breakdown of neurotransmitters that signal muscles to contract. The gases inactivate the enzyme cholinesterase, which normally controls the transmission of nerve impulses. The impulses continue uncontrolled and cause respiratory breakdown.

Nerve gases generally cause death by asphyxiation. The symptoms preceding this include blurred vision, runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. The victim will next have difficulty breathing, and will experience nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of his bodily functions, he will involuntarily vomit, defecate and urinate. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking, and the victim will lapse into a coma and suffocate as a consequence of convulsive spasms.